Canada’s Top Six Extreme Disasters

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Like any other country in the world, Canada has had it share of disasters big and small. I did a little research and came up with six of the most recent but devastating disasters that have happened over the last hundred years so please sit back and enjoy.

1998 Ice Storm

I live here in Ontario and we get our fair share of cold weather with ice rain, snow and so on but on Jan 5, 1998, ice rain had started to pour down on pretty much of all of Ontario. Rain constantly fell for three to four days, almost 80 hours worth of rain had fallen by the time it was done. Once the rain stopped, all saw the true measure of damage. Everything was covered in ice and power lines where down everywhere. Over 4 million people went without power for weeks and some went with out it for months depending the area they were in. 25 people had died due to the ice storm and problems caused by it and another 12 died in flooding. The Ontario Municipalities declared a state of emergency. The freezing rain front that had hit Ontario had also affected Northern New York, New England, Vermont, New Hampshire and even Maine. Weeks after the storm governments had estimated there was hundred’s of millions of dollars in flooding damage and the overall damage altogether came in around 6 billion dollars U.S. Even to this day, there is still evidence in some areas how bad the ice storm was with hundred-year-old trees snapped like toothpicks in many places.

1987 Edmonton Tornado

Calgary is a big province with many people living within its many cities and Edmonton just happens to be one of those cities. Calgary has also had its share of bad weather before but I do not think anyone living within Edmonton city was expecting what was about to happen to them. On July 31, 1987 at 3:00pm Edmonton city residents, where horrified to learn that a tornado had just touched down in their beloved city with a population at the time of 730,372 people. The tornado roared on for about 15 minutes depending who you ask and touched down in four different areas. By the time, it ended the residents started to come out of their hiding places and seen then horrific damage the tornado had caused. Governments estimated the damage to be $300 million in the four different areas, 27 people had died, and another 300 people suffered injuries. Scientist and weather specialists say the tornado had registered an F4 on the Fujita Scale. Even to this day, the Edmonton tornado still stands as one of the worst tornados in Canadian history.

1985 Air Flight 1285

December 12, 1985 in the early morning flight 1285 departed from an airport in Newfoundland. Shortly after taking off, no more then half a mile away from the runway the plane mysteriously crashed. There were 256 people a board, eight of which were the flight crew and the other 248 were U.S service men. They all died. A day after the crash Canadian government and U.S government received messages from a terrorist group called “Islamic Jihad” claiming responsibility for the crash. After extensive investigations, the Canadian and American governments had proved that ice build up on the wings was to blame for the crash and nothing else. A memorial to the victims of this disaster has been set up overlooking the crash site on Gander Lake in Newfoundland. This death toll constituted to be the deadliest plane crash in Canada and remains so to this date.

1956 Mount Slesse Plane Crash

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It was a late and cold winter night on December 9, 1956 when Trans Canada Flight 810 left an airport in British Columbia. Shortly after take off the radio tower had lost all contact with the flight, which had seem to totally disappear. There were 62 people aboard and six of them of which were CFL players back from an All-Star Game, and a mystery man known only as “Kwan Song” who was supposedly carrying a very large amount of cash. All had vanished without a trace or even a word. No one knew where the flight could be and the Canadian government looked for months but with no success. 5 months later on May 10, 1957 while hiking in the mountains near Chilliwack British Columbia, “Elfrida Pigou” found the remains of a plane. After contacting the Canadian authorities about what she found, they launched an investigation and concluded the plane remains were that of Trans Canada Flight 810. On May 25, 1995, British Columbia government declared the crash site as a “Heritage Wreck Site”. No reason was ever given for the crash but even today; this is still known as Western Canada’s worst aviation disaster. Some people to this day believe mystery passenger “Kwan Songs” money is still up in the mountains somewhere.

1917 Halifax Explosion

On Dec 6, 1917 in a Halifax harbour, a French cargo ship carrying a full load of wartime ammo and explosives collided with a Norwegian ship called “The Narrows” that was anchored. At 9:03am, a massive explosion had obliterated all structures and buildings within 2 kilometres of the shoreline and causing tsunami because the explosion was so large. This explosion was the largest artificial explosion in history until the atomic bomb testing in 1945.  Once the chaos of the explosion was over the survivors started looking for others who had survived the blast as well. It was a grim site with over 9,000 people lying injured in the streets and another 2,000 Canadians lying dead all over. Many died from debris, fires and collapsed buildings. Following the day of the blast, the survivors were then faced with a blizzard that dumped over 40 centimetres of snow. In 1917, the damage figures where 35 million dollars U.S and that is not counting the surrounding towns that were levelled but in today’s figures, it would more be like $500 million in damage. Even to date this is still known as one of the world’s largest artificial non-nuclear explosions.

1914 Hillcrest Mining Disaster

Its was Friday June 19, 1914, the new mining shift workers had just shown up for work a half an hour before. Sometime after 9:30am, a gas explosion outside of the mineshaft had triggered 3-4 other explosions within the mine. Methane gas was to blame for the explosion. It was a horrible explosion, which trapped 189 miners in the shafts. Rescue operations started right away with every available person grabbing a shovel to dig. Only 46 people survived and where rescued and only 26 of the 189 bodies could be brought up that day. By Saturday afternoon, the coroner had viewed 162 bodies. There was 377 men total at the mines that day, and 189 of them died with most of them only being in their early 20’s and 30’s. Within minutes, 130 women were left widowed and 400 children were left fatherless. One poor soul’s body was never found and to this day still lies buried in the mine.


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